Outside brings you the hottest fitness and health trends for summer, including how to boost your Vitamin D, improve your cycling workout, and the benefits of swearing.
Hot Tip: Workout in Hot Weather
A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that cyclists who worked out in a 100-degree room for ten days experienced a 5 to 10 percent improvement when they later competed in 55-degree conditions. Researchers speculated that, among other benefits, the heat increased blood flow to muscles, improving efficiency over time.
Get More Vitamin D
Evidence that vitamin D can do wonders for the body is mounting. While the National Academy of Sciences recently boosted its recommended daily allowance from 200 international units to 600 IU, a new study has concluded that dramatically higher levels are needed for the cancer- and chronic-disease-fighting powers of vitamin D to kick in. The study, published in the journal Anticancer Research, found that most people need to take 4,000 to 8,000 IU per day to keep blood concentrations at beneficial levels. Only 10 percent of Americans—those with outdoor jobs, mostly—have concentrations that high. If you’re among the other 90 percent, the best way to elevate your level is by taking supplements, like those from Nature Made ($10; naturemade.com), or just ditch work early for a ride. Twenty minutes of exposure three times a week will net you plently of vitamin D.
Turns out that that F-bomb may be just what the doctor ordered. According to a study at England’s Keele University, participants who swore while their hand was submerged in a bucket of ice water were able to endure the pain longer than if they didn’t curse. Even more surprising, those participants who didn’t commonly cuss were able to cope with the discomfort for twice as long when they launched into a profanity-laced tirade. The takeaway? Let it fly, but only when you need it most.
By the Numbers: 56
The percentage drop in mountain-bike-related injuries requiring emergency-room visits, from a high of 23,177 in 1995 to 10,267 in 2007, the lowest on record, according to a new study. This despite the fact that some 50 million people still participate in the sport each year, according to the Outdoor Industry Foundation. The reason for the drop? The most common theory is that better technologies like disc brakes and dual suspension give riders greater control over their bikes. One more reason to throw down for a state-of-the-art ride.